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ThomasSarver's Blog about Hockey

What teams need/should do

6 Players that could be traded as a result of the upcoming Expansion

1) FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN

Trading Francois Beauchemin could be difficult to do considering Beauchemin has a full no movement clause in his contract, along with his 4.5 million dollar cap hit that he carries. However, it benefits Colorado to figure out a way to get Beauchemin to waive his no movement clause and ship him out of town. The return won't be great for the aging defender, but Colorado will reclaim an additional 4.5 million in needed cap space, an additional player they can block in the expansion draft, and a possible conditional mid round pick.    

                                                                                  Possible Destinations                                                                                                                                                      Edmonton Oilers: A possible suitor that could be interested in taking Beauchemin are the the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton has a young team and Beauchemin's leadership and experience in the playoffs could help guide the Oilers into their first campaign in the playoffs in quite sometime. Beauchemin does carry a no movement clause, and would have to waive it in order to go to the Oilers, but, Conor McDavid, who is tearing up the league this year, could convince Beauchemin that there is another shot at the cup with  the Oilers.                                               Columbus Blue Jackets:  The biggest surprise in hockey this year, the Blue Jackets are performing surprisingly well in a tough division. However, they could look to add Beauchemin as a defensive anchor. Columbus could look to Beauchemin to help them win their first playoff series as well as helping the development of Seth Jones and Ryan Murray. The hard part however is convincing Beauchemin why Columbus is the place that is best for him and his career, because -- it's Columbus... good luck.

2) Marc-Andre Fleury

Fluery has had an amazing career, leading the Penguins to multiple Stanley Cup appearances. Fleury, who is also an All-Star goalie, is still performing at a high level  and has an affordable contract, so why is he on this list? Two words: Matt Murray. Murray has won the job from Fleury and with the upcoming expansion draft, the Penguins would have to block Fleury and expose Murray to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Penguins will want to keep Murray, so they will look to Fleury to waive his no movement clause.  

                                                                                Possible Destinations                                                                                                                                                                        Calgary Flames: The Flames are 3 points out of the final division spot in the playoffs, but it is still early, and the Flames goaltending woes could kill all hopes of making the playoffs in a division that includes offensive juggernauts like Edmonton, Los Angeles, and San Jose. The Flames acquired Brian Elliot for a draft pick this offseason and that hasn't worked out. Elliot who has posted a 3.21 goals allowed average and a .889 save percentage, which is not the statistics a team wants in a goalie competing for them in the playoffs. Fleury could immediately step in and provide solid goaltending which could lead to a completely different set of contenders coming out of a competitive Pacific Division.                                                                                                                             New York Islanders: The Islanders are struggling this year, in every way, shape, form, and fashion. Their offense isn't spectacular other than John Tavares, their Defense is not anything special, despite the efforts of a group of players who excel at holding down the blue line. And last and most disappointing, are their goalies. Yes, Griess has been decent, but Halak has been absolutely awful. The Islanders could look to acquire Fleury in order to show Tavares that there is a reason to stay because this team committed to winning now and not entering another rebuild. Fleury could be attracted to Brooklyn in order to stay in the same division and wreak havoc on the team that traded him.

3) Ben Bishop

Bishop is another example of a solid veteran goaltender who lost his job to a new young goalie who is cheaper and is without a doubt the future of the franchise. Andrei Vasilevskiy is without a doubt the new man in Tampa and with Bishop sidelined for multiple weeks due to an injury,  Andrei has time to solidify himself as the official starter in Tampa. Steve Yzerman will have a challenge in finding a team that will take on Bishop but Yzerman is one of the leagues best GM's and will without a doubt find a team to take on the cap hit that Bishop carries. The good news for him is that Bishop will be cheaper to acquire in the form of assets in a trade, than Fleury (mentioned above).    

                                                                                 Possible Destinations                                                                                                                                                                       Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes are a team that is for sale? The owner could look to add a name like Bishop's to slightly raise the team's value with nothing more than a name. This could be significant if he plays like he did when he led the Bolts to the Stanley Cup Final. The potential for Bishop to give this team the extra push it needs to get into the playoffs. And with 15 million dollars in cap space and a plethora of prospects to offer, the Hurricanes can afford to make this trade 2 times over.                                                                                              Buffalo Sabers: The Sabers are a lot like the Edmonton Oilers, except Talbot is playing out of his mind for Edmonton in the net, and Lehner is not. Lehner has not been bad, but acquiring Bishop will result in one of 2 things. One, the play of Lehner will improve due to the competition that Bishop will bring . Two, Lehner's play will suffer and the Sabers will have an immediate replacement. Being a team on the rise is not the worst thing for a franchise.                                 

4... and 5) Ryan Ellis, and Sami Vatanen           

Both are puck moving right handed defenders; a valued commodity in this league. Both are likely to be taken in the expansion draft due to being on teams that have significant depth that would rather block 3 more forwards instead of an extra defenceman but don't wish to lose a player of this caliber for nothing. The Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks are setting themselves up to bring in a decent return for the assets they are trying to trade. The Preds could ask as high as a 1st round pick and a C grade prospect, while the Ducks should be looking for a 2nd round pick and a B grade prospect.

                                                                             Possible Destinations                                                                                                                                                                                 Columbus Blue Jackets : I include Columbus in this list specifically with the Nashville Predators and Ryan Ellis in mind because teams work with teams that don't screw them over. The Preds and Jackets made a huge trade last year that sent Seth Jones to Columbus and Ryan Johansen to Nashville. The Blue Jackets could offer their 1st round pick this year to fuel their playoff run, but Nashville is also looking to go deep this year in the playoffs, so Nashville would also want a defenseman to fill in Ellis' spot. Same with Anaheim and Vatanen. Insert the once great Jack Johnson coming back the other way on a lower salary because of Columbus retaining salary. The Blue Jackets could be looking at a solid defender that will help the development of Zach Wereneski.                                   New Jersey Devils: The Devils flayed the Oilers when they sent Adam Larsson to Edmonton for Taylor Hall. The Devils are now missing  Larsson, and will look to give goaltender Cory Schneider some support from a competent defenseman. The Devils won't want to part ways with a draft pick this year but if they believe enough in the future of their team with the addition of this asset, they may be okay with parting ways with next years 1st or 2nd round draft pick, which is what the Devils would have to offer, since the Devils lack players that could step in this year and make a difference.

6) Patrik Berglund

Berglund is a very underrated player, and, in my opinion, one of the best 3rd line centers in the game. He could provide defensive support at the 11th hour of a playoff game, and since Berglund is on the stacked St. Louis Blues, they could look to ship him out and get a mid round pick out of him before the Golden Knights have the chance to claim him for free. Berglund carries a 3.7 million dollar cap hit, but would not be a hard player to trade given his age, 28, as well as his defensive abilities.                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                            Possible Destinations                                                                                                                                                                            Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers are looking like they have the opportunity to do something in the playoffs this year, and in the playoffs, crucial games are won down the middle with consistent players winning crucial face-offs. The Oilers could use Berglund this year and the next few years in order to possibly start another dynasty with the help of pieces like Cam Talbot, Milan Lucic, Oscar Klefbom, and the great Conor McDavid. The days of Edmonton having good draft positions is over, and it is time to buy at the deadline instead of selling.                                                                   Ottawa Senators: The Senators are second in their division, and after trading away Mika Zibanejad, the Sens could look to St.Louis in order to address that vacancy before the playoffs. As of right now, the Sens have Brassard (aquried in the Zibanejad trade), Kyle Turris, Curtis Lazar, and Pageau at center. Berglund would be an upgrade over Lazar and Pageau. The Sens could offer up Hammond to the Blues who could use a decent back up behind Jake Allen.

The Canucks Offseason Plan

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

5 Vancouver Canucks

Predicted pick: Matthew Tkachuk

Best fit: Jakob Chychrun/ Olli Juolevi

Analysis:

Matthew Tkachuk is a great talent, but as i will explain later, it is not a bad idea to find a No.1 Defenseman for the future, especially if the Canucks want to contend in the Pacific, that being said, Tkachuk is also a player that fits the needs of the Canucks, a gifted offensive forward who can score goals and dish the puck to other players who can put it in the net. Hopefully the Canucks wont trade this one….. Back to the the Defenseman listed above, Chychrun is a player who teams look to build their teams around when building from the defensive end, but if the Oilers snatch Chychrun before the Canucks have the chance, they will have to look at the defensive prospect coming from the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League. Juolevi has the potential to be a fantastic Defenseman and had good statistics in his first year playing north american hockey which can be a difficult adjustment for players coming from Finland, Sweden, and other countries in that area.

Invest in

Better life choices: Learn how to make them. Three trades come to mind when thinking about why this is something the Canucks need to do. First is the trade that occurred in June of 2015, which sent young goaltender to Carolina for a third and seventh round pick. soon after this trade, General Manager, Jim Benning said later that the rebuilding Canucks could have traded Ryan Miller, who was 34 years old at the time. A lot of Canucks fans will say “we made the playoffs in the 2014-2015 season, how are we rebuilding?” because you're GM makes bad choices, that is why. The second trade occurred on February 22nd, where the Canucks shipped off their best prospect Hunter Shinkaruk to the Calgary Flames for forward Markus Granlund, granted Granlund is already a NHL player, but he is not worth a player with the potential that Shinkaruk is worth. Shinkaruk when traded, had 39 points in 45 games for the Comets who are Vancouver’s farm team, and finished in calgary with 3 points in 7 games for the Flames and 12 points in 17 games in the minors. Granlund had 7 points for the Flames in 31 games and only amassed 3 points in 16 games with Vancover. The third and final trade, which is the better of all three was the recent Jared Mccan to Florida for Erik Gudbranson. Gudbranson is a good defenseman who carries size and Jared Mccan did not have the greatest rookie season and a 1 for 1 trade would not have been awful BUT it was not 1 for 1, it was a 2 for 3 trade which involved the Canuks receiving a 2016 5th round pick in addition to Gudbranson in exchange for Jared Mccan, and a 2nd and 4th round pick in the year 2016. The 2nd round pick is a huge blow considering it is the 3rd pick of that round and players like John Gibson, Justin Faulk, and Roman Josi have been taken early in the second round.

Thatcher Demko: If the Canucks are not going to trade Ryan Miller, the Canucks need to start getting American goaltender Thatcher Demko ready to take the reins of the net minding in Vancouver. The Erik Gudbranson trade is a step in that direction, but I still stand by what I said in the paragraph above. Vancouver has a plethora of young defenseman and have their last two pairings of defenseman figured out, however, in order for Demko, to grow and become a household name. They will need to establish a solid top defensive line who will be players that will stick around for the Canucks return to being a consistent playoff presence. Some names that come to mind are Colorado’s Tyson Barrie, who is a RFA next year and it is a well known fact that Colorado is shopping Barrie around. Another name is P.K. Subban, but that is extremely unlikely, given the fact that Subban will cost a huge price that the Canucks may not be able to pay. Good news is that, despite trading away huge chips, that they could have used to build their future, there are still pieces that if used correctly, could be huge for a playoff team.

SELL

Alexandre Burrows: Its hard to do due to his no trade clause, and the fact that Burrows is not a well liked player, but that is 4.5 Million dollars that the club could defiantly use, and in his prime, 4.5 is not a bad price to pay for a player of his caliber, but his prime is over, and it is not coming back. This sell also gets harder because Burrows has a no trade clause. So a buyout might be the Canucks only option, and even though fans hate being players being bought out, especially players who have been apart of a single franchise as long as Burrows has, it is time to realize that it is time to move on. 

Christopher Tanev: The original player i had her was Luca Sbisa, but Tanev is the same age and gets payed more, and even though Tanev performs better than Sbisa, the reason Tanev’s name is on the list is because after the 2016-2017 season, Tanev will have a no trade clause and the team may find themselves in the same situation that they are in with Burrows. But Sbisa would also be a player that they could trade and get a decent return out of, but due to the up coming no trade clause, id have to explore trading Tanev. Not to mention the fact that more salary space would be cleared, and the return would be better for the team.

Danger: failing to acknowledge what you are as a team. Vancouver is rebuilding. there is another way around it, the team can either A) rebuild now, while there are a number of talented players coming into the league, or B) trade away the work that they have done toward rebuilding for in order to still try and squeak into the last playoff spot possible in the West. the second option is not a smart choice for any team, much less a team that has to compete with the central division for wildcard positions. Good GM’s pick option A, always.

The Oilers 2016 Offseason plan

4 Edmonton Oilers

Predicted pick: Jakob Chychrun 

Best fit: Jakob Chychrun

Analysis : The Oilers have the opportunity to completely change the make up of this team this year. Jakob Chychrun brings great size and ability to a team that is desperate for a decent defenseman. Chychrun who is coming from the Sarnia Sting, where he has served as a Assistant Captian during his entire tenure, will fit in quite nicely with other Sarnia Sting product Nail Yakupov.  Oilers fans may be hesitant about taking another player from Sarnia due to the fact that Yakupov has not lived up to his draft status and has been labeled a flop by many. Either way Chychrun is a player who directly fits what the Oilers need; a strong defenseman who can serve with Darrnell Nurse on the Defensive end.   However, there is another defenseman out of the BCHL named Dante Fabbro. Fabbro is slightly smaller than Chychrun but has favorable statistics and is a coming from a NCAA hockey system that is on the rise. However, Chychrun is ranked higher for a reason. Chychrun has established that he is a presence in the playoffs posting 9 goals and 15 assists in 25 games. Chychrun also was an assistant captain for the Canadian U18 team where he had 4 points in 7 games.

Jakob Chychrun

Dante Fabbro

GP: 62

GP: 45

G: 11

G:14

A: 38

A:53

+/- 23

+/- 0

Invest in: 

Another Goaltender: If ever there was a year to invest in a goaltender via free agency, this year is the year. Frederick Anderson will be expendable to Ducks but as a Restricted Free Agent, the Oilers would have to acquire the required picks that would be sent to Anaheim as compensation. The Oilers could try and see if the Ducks are willing to trade Anderson's rights, but since the Oilers and Ducks share a division, Edmonton may have to look toward Pittsburgh who recently had multiple rumors erupt that they will be looking to shed 2 NHL All Star Marc-Andre Fleury who gets paid 5.75 Million dollars a year, and assuming he waives his no movement clause, The tandem of Fleury, Mcdavid, Hall, and Draisaitl may spell the end of Edmonton’s struggles.        

Another defenseman: There are plenty of defensive options in free agency this year. However, some bigger names like Jason Demers or Keith Yandle may ask for more money to sacrifice playing for a team that is not a cup contender at the moment. Edmonton may call back Anaheim and see if Sami Vatanen is a player worth giving up. Especially if the Oilers use RNH or Jorban Eberle as trade bait, and with one of those players being dangled in front of the Ducks, Anaheim may be okay with pulling the trigger. 

Sell

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: The former first overall pick is now a third line center due to the dominance showed by Leon Draisaitl and Last year's first overall pick Conner McDavid. The two young centers have now made RNH and his 6 Million dollar a year contract expendable. The Oilers may have to retain some salary but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could snatch something in return that could benefit the Oilers. For example, a team like St. Louis who may be without David Backes when fall comes. Another team who may be interested in a scoring center, is the Montreal Canadians who recently experienced a shipwreck of a season that proves that changes need to occur.

Jordan Eberle: Eberle is another player who makes 6 millions dollars a year that has a lot of trade speculation surrounding him. Ederle tallied 25 goals this year and teams like Winnipeg, Philadelphia and New Jersey could use scoring help since their Goals for per game were 2.59, 2.57, and 2.22 respectively. Each of those teams could spare a 2nd round pick along with a possible prospect who could step in and provide a impact for the Edmonton Oilers

Danger: Taking another offensive forward with their 1st overall pick. Many look to history to predict the outcomes of events, and the Edmonton Oilers have only selected a defenseman 2 times in the first round since the 1998 NHL Entry draft. Defense will remain a weak spot for the Oilers unless they sacrifice a first round pick to snatch a defensive player who has the potential to be a franchise defenseman. 

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